Saturday, May 4, 2024

The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner

Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars 
Pages: 336 pages
Published: December 2023

After reading All We Were Promised, I was in search of a lighter read, so, from my TBR list, I picked up The Second Chance Year by Melissa Wiesner. It was definitely lighter, and the premise was fun and imaginative, but I had hoped for a little more mature book. The novel features Sadie who, at the opening of the book, has lost her job, apartment, and boyfriend because, according to her, she speaks her mind. On New Year's Eve, she accompanies her best friend to a party where she meets a fortune teller who gives her a do-over of the very bad year that resulted in her losses. The remainder of the book is a series of situations that Sadie tries to correct from the previously-lived year. In the midst of discovering who she was, she learns who she needs to be to be true to herself. 

I really enjoyed the overall idea of the story. It was an entertaining plot. However, I would classify the novel more as young adult fiction, and I do enjoy my fair share of that genre, I just would have had different expectations going in if it was labeled as a more juvenile story - not because the characters are young but because some of their actions seem immature and underdeveloped. 

While Sadie was a likable protagonist, she seemed one-dimensional. The constant repetition of her "very bad year" reminded me of Judith Viorst's "Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day." By employing this repetitive tactic, I think the author short-sells the reader assuming they won't be able to discern between the timelines. The story and plot were clearly written, and I don't think this distinction was needed. There were also a couple of plot holes that left me scratching my head - like how did the old lady know to bring Gio the cat to the coffee shop on that exact day? How could Sadie not realize that changing her life would change those around her? 
Recommendation: This was a relatively short book, but I really had a hard time sticking with it. This was my first read by this author. I think I might choose another written by her because I do think she has good story ideas. This one just didn't do it for me. 

Until next time ... Read on!

Regardless of whether I purchase a book, borrow a book, or receive a book in exchange for review, my ultimate goal is to be honest, fair, and constructive. I hope you've found this review helpful.


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